Indigenous Women Call Upon Biden to Stop Pipelines and Uphold Indigenous Rights in the Wake of Escalating Climate Chaos and Covid-19 Crises
January 14, 2021 – Today, over 75 Indigenous women leaders from across the country impacted by fossil fuel extraction and pipeline infrastructure sent a letter to the incoming Administration calling on President-elect Biden to immediately take five executive actions to halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipeline projects. These executive actions will uphold Indigenous rights, align the Biden Administration with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and keep fossil fuels in the ground.
In the letter, the women wrote: “No more broken promises, no more broken Treaties. We represent Indigenous Nations and Tribes from across the United States all impacted by fossil fuel extraction and pipelines, and we urge you to fulfill the United States promise of sovereign relations with Tribes, and your commitment to robust climate action. Please heed our words, we are the women leaders of our communities and we are calling on you to show us on day one your commitment to fulfilling the U.S. treaty obligations and ending the reign of fossil fuel extraction in our tribal territories.”
The Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipeline projects all pose grave threats to Indigenous rights, cultural survival, local waterways and environments, the global climate, and public health, including greater risk of COVID-19 exposure. The letter also highlights the connections between the epidemic of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and pipeline construction, and that all three pipelines are moving forward despite a lack of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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“After witnessing the violent attempted insurrection on January 6th, 2021, and seeing ‘white privilege’ on full display, I am acutely reminded of the drastic contrast of response that Indigenous peoples experienced at Standing Rock where we were attacked by dogs, maced, shot at with rubber bullets, strip searched, put in dog kennels when arrested, and our bodies marked with numbers for peacefully protecting our water and lands. I feel it necessary to call on the incoming Biden/Harris Administration to stop the overall assault on Indigenous peoples and to stand by the promise to ‘Build Back Better’ in our Indigenous territories by taking executive action to halt the KXL, DAPL, and Line 3 pipeline projects, and acknowledge the racist policies that have allowed the continuing destruction of our homelands. As a Matriarch of the Ponca Nation, I am honored to have the responsibility of caring for the generations to come by ensuring the health and welfare of Mother Earth, Father Sky and Relatives in every form. Life itself hangs in the balance, and we women are coming together to say that we must make the correct choices for our collective future. Now,” said Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca Nation, Environmental Ambassador, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) Senior Project Leader/Board Member.
"These pipelines are the outward manifestation of the rape of not only Mother Earth, but the very real rape of our people. From our bodies to the land and water we all need to survive, they must be stopped to prove this new President, indeed the new administration and electors are serious about real climate change. President elect Biden and Vice President Harris you both signed the promise to cancel KXL and end DAPL. We won't settle for anything less than stopping all three pipelines including Line 3. Our people, your people are at risk. End this madness," said Joye Braun, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Community Organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
“Suspending one big oil expansion project through Native territory and approving another is the opposite of climate leadership and respect for Indigenous sovereignty. One of Trump’s first actions in office was reauthorizing oil pipelines through Native lands. The Biden administration can uphold their climate justice claims by acting to Stop Line 3, Stop Keystone XL, and Stop Dakota Access Pipeline, now," said Tara Houska, Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe, Founder of Giniw Collective.
“Joe Biden, we are asking you to stand on the right side of history and humanity by putting an immediate end to the deadly pipelines destroying our Earth, our communities, & all life. We are asking you to honor the treaties, Tribal sovereignty, and our shared commitment to being good future ancestors. We are counting on you to be the climate President we all need. Future generations are depending on each of us to do what’s right. The time is now to do your part,” said Ashley (McCray) Engle, Absentee Shawnee Tribe Of Oklahoma/Oglala Lakota Nation, Indigenous Environmental Network Green New Deal Organizer, and Stop the Plains All American Pipeline founder.
"As the United States is shamed by belligerence and violence at the US Capitol. It is the matriarchal lines, Indigenous women, and Indigenous Nations who bring balance, dignity, honor, and a restoration of faith in democratic values through our millennia-old traditions of diplomacy, law, and governance here in Turtle Island. We call upon the world and President-Elect Joe Biden, to acknowledge the injustice of white supremacy that festers like a wound within the United States. White supremacy and its legalized legacy deny our Original Nations title, jurisdiction, and basic rights to land and life-sustaining water. When we say ‘No’ to the extraction of natural resources and oil from our traditional lands, we are met with police repression, militarization, and a legacy of racial violence that protects the will of corporations, by and through the infliction of pain on our Indigenous bodies. The silent normalized violence against Indigenous women for natural resources and corporate profit must end NOW! Stand with Indigenous peoples all over the world fighting extractive industries, for land, and life. Help us protect and restore the world for all before it is too late!" said Michelle Cook (Dineh), Divest Invest Protect.
"Newly elected President Biden, we demand you stop all three pipelines. These oil infrastructures are direct cause of Genocide to our Indigenous people and the destruction of Mother Earth. You asked for our votes. We ask for you to take action," said Mechelle Sky Walker, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, Indigenous Environmentalist and Political Activist.
“Fossil fuels are the horse and buggy of the 21st century. To destroy land, water, and air to benefit the fossil fuel industry as it is on its way out is short sighted and should be criminal. Stop DAPL, KXL, and Line 3 pipelines immediately,” said Pennie Opal Plant, Yaqui, undocumented Choctaw and Cherokee, Co-founder of Movement Rights, Signatory on the Indigenous Women of the Americas.
Without a doubt there is little choice left, it is time to come together across our nations to protect Mother Earth, Water and a culturally sustainable way of life, and halt pipelines that depend on tar sand or dirty fossil fuel oil that destroys our planet and hastens climate change. The newly elected government must make this decision too what path to go, halt permitting pipelines or shift and invest in other options,” said Chief Judy Wilson of the Union of BC Indian Chief that served over 100 First Nation bands North of the Medicine Line (British Columbia, Canada). Chief Wilson furthered that she supports the call for a “Presidential Memoranda to halt construction and operations of the Keystone XL, Line 3, and DAPL fossil fuel pipeline projects, including the construction of temporary housing for workers, also known as ‘man camps’”.
“The resource extractive industries like tar sands mining and its pipelines are directly linked to the violence of our Indigenous lands and women. Indigenous women the title holders to our Indigenous Territories are the first to be impacted and have voiced a collective no consent for these pipelines to invade our tribal lands and we have shown we are willing to risk our liberty and freedom and put our bodies on the line to blockade and stop construction of these dirty oil and gas projects, to ensure we have a clean future for our children,” said Kanahus Manuel, Secwepemc & Ktunaxa Nations, Secwepemc Women Warriors, Tiny House Warriors. Learn more about the No consent TMX Secwepemc Declaration here: www.secwepemculecw.org.
“Our Indigenous ancestors have a footprint across this continent that spans for at least 20,000 years. We have been conquered, colonized, killed, dehumanized and yet we continue forward. President Biden help make right the injustice set upon our Indigenous Peoples. As the Elder you are, set the course that will help heal Mother Earth and all Her Children. Do the right thing. The honorable and just thing. STOP the KXL, Line 3, and DAPL Pipelines,” said Christina Valdivia-Alcalá, Mexican Indigenous/Chicana, Founder/Director Tonantzin Society, City Councilwoman, District 2, City of Topeka, Kansas.
The letter was released in partnership with the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN).
The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.